Can a Suspensory Injury Return to Normal?

Can a Suspensory Injury Return to Normal?

Many factors affect the healing process of an injured suspensory ligament.
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With a suspensory ligament injury, does the lesion ever fill in or look normal on ultrasound after rehabilitation? What are the chances of re-injury?

For the answer, we sought advice from the American Association of Equine Practitioners.


Both of these are excellent questions, and unfortunately both vary depending on the individual case.

It is possible for a suspensory lesion to fill in, given enough time, but sometimes they persist on an ultrasound even a year or more after the original injury. Certain therapies, such as the injection of PRP, can cause a lesion to fill in ultrasonographically, although the ligament may still not be as strong as it was prior to the injury. Sometimes the lesion may fill in with slightly different tissue fibers, which causes it to remain visible on ultrasound. In certain cases, the ligament may contain muscle fibers interspersed throughout the structure, which may make interpretation of the ultrasound difficult, both before and after injury and rest and rehab time. This is more commonly found in hind suspensory ligaments.

Having a preventative medicine program for your horses can help save you at the vet's. Veterinarian Bradford G. Bentz discusses ways to keep horses healthy and free of infectious diseases, from vaccination and de-worming programs to proper nutrition to joint and muscle maintenance in his book, "Equine Preventative Medicine."

The potential for re-injury depends on many factors, such as severity of the injury, therapies used during rehabilitation, length of time before return to full athletic function and intensity of training.

-- Dr. Rebecca Linke, in conjunction with AQHA Alliance Partner American Association of Equine Practitioners

*AQHA and the provider of this information are not liable for the inherent risks of equine activities. We always recommend consulting a qualified veterinarian and/or an AQHA Professional Horseman.